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Tuesday, May 9th 2006

The Moral Authority…

…to question the United States on the issue of torture no longer belongs to the U.N. Not if they allow Swiss politician Jean Ziegler to take his seat on the newly formed Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

For all intents and purposes this is an investigative body, but such is difficult when the investigators are of singular focus and preformed opinion.

Ziegler’s main idea was anti-Americanism. He was a founding editor of the journal L’Empire, and you don’t need many guesses to know which “empire” was the subject. The United States, according to Ziegler, is an “imperialist dictatorship” that is guilty, among other atrocities, of “genocide” against the people of Cuba by means of its trade embargo.

In 1989, Ziegler was one of a group of self-described “intellectuals and progressive militants” who gathered in Tripoli to announce the launching of the annual “Muammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize,” awarded by the government of Libya. Ziegler explained that the purpose of the Qaddafi prize was to counterbalance the Nobel prize, which, he said, constituted a “perpetual humiliation to the Third World.”

I’ve already made an off kelter post about the U.N.’s waste in questioning the U.S. on its human rights violations at Guantanamo. This episode is just another example of the U.N.’s futility and lack of appropriate focus.

It is embarrassing that the U.N. is used as a soap box for anti-American sentiment. That is what this international body has been reduced to, a tool of diplomats and governments in the world of diplomacy, not an independent force for good. Not to say there aren’t reasons for many to be upset with America but is it really appropriate for the U.N. questioning of the U.S. on torture to be grabbing international headlines when the U.N.’s response to Darfur has been so dramatically inadequate up to this point? To be taking U.N. committee time while much more severe human rights abuses continue the world over?

The U.N. is a joke. Ziegler taking his seat will merely contribute to that.